Written by Michael Woodman

Xmind is a concept mapping program, (much like Mindview, Mindmanager, and Inspiration), which allows you to create ‘spider diagrams’ or ‘mind maps’ on your computer. Creating a mind map can help you to plan and write essays, revise for exams, and organise large projects.

The main reason that Xmind is such an exciting piece of software is that it can be downloaded and used for free.

Buying the premium version unlocks additional features but, importantly, you can get to grips with many of the planning and organising strategies that we teach at D&A without having to pay a penny. For instance:

Use XMind to plan and write your essays:

  • Quickly add branches to your mind map using the mouse or keyboard shortcuts; get ideas down without worrying about the order they come out in.
  • Add detailed notes or bullet points, which can be hidden inside the branches of your map.
  • Attach files to your map (for instance, PDF versions of your research, so that all of your reading is to hand).
  • “Drag and drop” the different parts of your map until they are in the right order.
  • Convert the map, (including any notes you have added) into a text file which you can then edit in Word.

Use XMind to revise for your exam:

  • Create colour-coded mind maps to help you revise exam topics.
  • Add images to help you easily navigate around your revision map.
  • Add icons, (like flags and smiley faces) to mark off topics that you have revised.
  • Show and hide different parts of the map to test yourself.